Posts tagged Auburn

Mado Cafe, Auburn

Mado Cafe, Auburn. Sydney Food Blog Review

I don’t often get to head out to Auburn, but when we do, I like to make it count. So the obvious thing after an Afghan dinner at Khaybar with Simon and Christine is ice cream at Mado Cafe. Especially when it’s “the only ice cream in the world eaten with a knife and fork”.

Say whaaaaaa…???

The Order:

Cay (Turkish Tea), $2

Apple Tea, $3.50

Kesme Maras, $7.50
The only ice cream in the world eaten with a knife and fork

Baklava, $2.50

Kunefe, $10

The Food:

The dessert of the hour, the Kesme Maras, is meant to have a thick, chewy texture that makes cutlery a requirement. Served in a large block, it reminded me of the ice cream sandwiches of my childhood, were vendors slice it up straight out of the cardboard prisons that barely restrain the creamy treat.

Oh yeah, didn’t I mention that ice cream sandwiches in Singapore are served in bread like an actual sandwich. None of that copout cookie business here!

Kesme Maras, $7.50: Mado Cafe, Auburn. Sydney Food Blog ReviewKesme Maras, $7.50

Kesme Maras, $7.50: Mado Cafe, Auburn. Sydney Food Blog Review

Anyhoo. The Kesme Maras in this case wasn’t quite as chewy in texture as I’d hoped, like the one from Hakiki in Newtown. It ate like rich block of vanilla ice cream, topped with sauce and pistachio. Not bad, but not that special either.

Kunefe, $10: Mado Cafe, Auburn. Sydney Food Blog ReviewKunefe, $10

The Kunefe sat in a similar league for me: I’ve come to love the rich, cheesy, oozing Knefe that I’ve had from other Lebanese places, covered in semolina and orange blossom syrup, and this one was just a little on the light side. The crispy pastry added a nice texture, but where my cheese at??

Kunefe, $10: Mado Cafe, Auburn. Sydney Food Blog Review

Oh, there you are!

As you can see, not very heavy in the cheese department.

The baklava wasn’t my favourite, either – I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the texture was a little bit powdery. At least, for my taste.

Oh but do get yourself a Turkish tea whilst you’re there. Just a little something to cut all that sweet.

Food: 0.5/1

The Service:

They were fairly efficient and friendly, but I did feel fairly embarrassed when I asked about the difference between Turkish Tea and regular tea (they have it specifically labelled on their menu), and our waiter said, “uh, it’s just tea. Like, black tea”. Well, I’m sorry i didn’t know!

The embarrassment wasn’t enough to ruin the evening, but it was enough for me to remember the service by. So…not bad, but not great, either.

Service: 0.5/1

Value for money:

I don’t know how I feel paying $10 for that Kunefe and $7.50 for the Kesme Maras. I get that it’s a dessert and all, and it’s pretty reasonable for a dessert pricing, but at the same time, I’m not sure that for what I got I was happy with the value. I’m not bitterly mourning the loss in my wallet, but at the same time, I don’t think that I’m going to be running back anytime soon, especially if I’m feeling broke and selective about my food.

Value for money: 0/1

The Vibe:

Walking into Mado Cafe was like walking into someone’s house. I’m serious. The chairs were upholstered with boldly printed fabric, and there were embroidered tapestry runners laid under glass tabletops. Jaunty pop music played softly from the speakers (I thought I heard me a little Uptown Funk?), and it really was like relaxing at a friend’s house.

It was also really nice that they didn’t chase us out as we sat there for a couple hours chatting. An added bonus to a very relaxing evening.

Vibe: 0.5/1

And finally,

It’s really such a shame that the famed Kesme Maras wasn’t as mind-blowing as I thought it would be. It was still a nice place to sit and relax after dinner, but Auburn is filled with bakeries and middle eastern sweet shops that I wouldn’t necessarily label this one a must-go.

Bonus points: 0/1

This meal was independently paid for.
Mado Cafe
63 Auburn Road
Auburn, NSW
Phone: 02 9643 5299

Mado Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Of flatbreads and pickles: Jasmine 1, Auburn

Large mixed plate from Jasmine 1 in Auburn

A quick Google of Jasmine 1 in Auburn turns up very conflicting results: no one can seem to agree on whether it’s actually part of a chain, whether there’s an affiliation between the different locations, or even whether it’s spelt Jasmin or Jasmine (why did I not take a closer look at the sign when I was there).

But what they can agree on, is that the food is good.

A bowl of Foul: broad beans simmered with lemon juice and garlic, finished with olive oilFoul, $8

Pronounced “Fool”, Foule consists of broad beans simmered with garlic and lemon juice, and topped with a fruity olive oil. As Anthony Bourdain once said of another dish, it “sits like a bag of quarters” in your stomach, but it’s so worth it. A thick stew of tender broad beans are lifted with the sour tang of lemon juice and served with soft Lebanese flatbread.

Well, the flatbread comes with every meal, so I’m assuming that I can pair the two together.

Fried Kibbeh: Seasoned lamb mince enclosed in burghul, shaped into an oval, and fried to a crisp.Fried Kebbeh, $12

And as soon as I saw the word “kibbeh” (kebbeh?), the words “raw lamb” immediately come to mind. And I rarely see restaurants serve this, because of the risks involved in serving people raw, minced meat. Steak tartare is hand-cut, and so’s the Korean yukhoe, but mincing, requires a machine, and that can be an absolute breeding ground for bacteria if not properly maintained.

Unfortunately, my dining partners weren’t quite up for ordering it, so we ended up getting Fried Kebbeh instead!

Fried Kebbeh

These divine oval parcels involve seasoned lamb mince stuffed into a burghul shell, and deep fried into golden brown deliciousness.

Fattoush: Salad of tomato, capsicum, onion, cabbage, mint, and parsley, dressed in lemon juice and olive oil.Fattoush, $8

And we got a salad. Because, EAT YOUR VEGGIES. But no, really, I never realised how INSANELY AWESOME it is to have crunchy bits of deep fried flatbread sitting on top of a salad so well-dressed it’s ready for the Oscars. Maybe it’s not the BEST fattoush in the world – I wouldn’t know really, since I’ve been distracted by it’s greener cousin tabbouli all these years – but it was tasty, and fresh, and one of the more enjoyable salads I’ve had in a while.

Large mixed plate from Jasmine 1 in AuburnLarge Mixed Plate, $36

And then the main event. A Large Mixed Plate, $36, to share. 3 chicken skewers, 3 koftas, and 4 lamb skewers are served with a plate of pickles, and endless flatbreads. Oh, and a garlic sauce that is garlicky enough to repel a bad tinder date, but not quite enough to keep you safe from vampires, a la El Jannah. The kofta was fantastic – and reminded me heaps of the Persian Koobideh, which also involves seasoned minced lamb cooked on a stick – and the lamb kebab was well seasoned and had just the right accents of fat. And I adore lamb fat.

The chicken, not so much, but I’m not a chicken person, much less chicken breast.

The service – which some think is a bit spotty – was actually pretty good when I went – they had a few customers in the restaurant, promptly brought us our menus, and took our orders in a timely fashion. They also served up complimentary cups of hot sweet black tea, which ended the meal on a light, sweet note.

Not that it stopped us from dropping by the amazing bakeries on the way back to the car to get some desserts in!

Jasmine 1
22 Civic Rd
Auburn, NSW 2144
Phone: 02 9643 8426

Jasmine 1 on Urbanspoon